Sri Lanka reopens borders to international travelers

(CNN) — The island nation of Sri Lanka is now open to vacationers from all international locations.

Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga made the official announcement throughout a press convention on Thursday, confirming they’d reopen the nation’s borders from January 21. Each of the nation’s worldwide airports reopened on the identical day.

“The livelihood of round 3 million folks will depend on tourism in Sri Lanka,” Ranatunga advised media. “It’s our nationwide accountability to consider the wants of our residents that depend upon this business.”

As a part of efforts to forestall the unfold of Covid-19, Sri Lanka created a “bio bubble,” which can give guests a relative quantity of freedom to journey throughout the nation whereas nonetheless observing security protocols.

Although there isn’t any minimal time {that a} customer should spend within the nation, anybody coming from overseas should keep in a government-approved resort or resort for as much as two weeks upon arrival.

That implies that vacationers solely coming for a brief journey will simply keep of their resort your complete time, whereas people who find themselves planning longer stays will have the ability to transfer extra freely inside Sri Lanka as soon as they full their two-weeks of semi-quarantine.

In contrast to locations like Hong Kong and Australia, the place folks quarantining upon arrival must stay in their hotel rooms for your complete length, Sri Lanka’s laws are a bit laxer. Friends can have free rein on-property, to allow them to use services like swimming pools, gyms, salons and eating places.
Vacationers may depart the resort throughout quarantine to go sightseeing, offered they achieve this fastidiously. A few dozen tourism sites and attractions are open to overseas guests, however with caveats.
The five-star Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle is on the list of approved hotels.

The five-star Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle is on the checklist of authorized accommodations.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle

As an example, as a part of the “bio bubble,” points of interest like Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, each within the central metropolis of Kandy, require guests to return as a part of an organized tour group or with an authorized Sri Lankan information.

They have to journey in a non-public automobile and never make any unauthorized aspect stops. Some websites will solely permit vacationers throughout designated time slots or on sure days of the week.

At present, 55 accommodations and resorts fall below the “secure and safe degree one” tips. They aren’t allowed to simply accept any native friends or host any occasions whereas they’re a part of the bio bubble.

With additional safety comes additional charges.

Along with paying for flights and lodging, vacationers are chargeable for the price of Sri Lanka’s government-sanctioned medical insurance ($12 US) and as much as three Covid checks in-country ($40 every).

Everybody coming into the nation should present proof of a damaging coronavirus check taken inside 96 hours of journey and fill out a web based well being declaration kind. Friends will probably be examined once more at their very own expense on the fifth and seventh days after arriving and folks staying longer than seven days must take a 3rd check the next week.

As soon as the 2 weeks are up they usually have a damaging coronavirus check, vacationers can keep at their resort or change to a different one of many authorized accommodations. Airbnbs, visitor homes and different types of lodging are off limits. Taking public transit is discouraged.

All potential vacationers should apply for a visa online and obtain the Go to Sri Lanka app. The app will probably be used for contact tracing in addition to storing details about check outcomes and resort bookings.
Sigiriya Fortress is among the dozen or so Sri Lanka attractions open to foreign tourists.

Sigiriya Fortress is among the many dozen or so Sri Lanka points of interest open to overseas vacationers.

ALEX OGLE/AFP/AFP/Getty Pictures

Whereas almost each nation can demonstrably present that its tourism income had taken a success amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sri Lanka has suffered from notably unfortunate timing.

Following the preliminary Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, most international locations in Asia closed their borders to tourism and few have reopened since. Sri Lanka will join the Maldives as considered one of two locations within the area with open borders.

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